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In Search of an Audience: Popular Pharmacies and the Limits of Literate Medicine in Late Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century Russia.

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Griffin, Clare 


This article addresses the question of the limits of literate medicine in Europe, through an examination of the Russian literate medical world of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Russian courtly medicine had been dominated by Western Europeans from the 1480s, but in the early eighteenth century new licensing arrangements solidified the presence of these foreigners in the wider Russian medical world. Foreign medical practitioners took advantage of this development, aiming works at an increasingly large proportion of Russian literate society. These works, along with satirical and religious works emulating or deriding medical texts, show how by the 1720s the limits of literate medicine in Russia lay not at the edges of official court medicine, but rather at the edges of literate society.



History, 17th Century, History, 18th Century, Literacy, Pharmacies, Russia, Textbooks as Topic

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Bull Hist Med

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Project MUSE
Wellcome Trust (101554/Z/13/Z)
I am grateful to the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Wellcome Trust for generously supporting my research, to the staff of the Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents (RGADA), Russian State Library (RGB) and the Russian State Historical Museum (GIM) (Moscow), the Russian National Library (RNB), and the Library of the Russian Academy of Sciences (BAN) (St. Petersburg) for the use of their materials, their invaluable help and guidance, and their kindness and hospitality, and to Sergei Bogatyrev, Simon Franklin, Lauren Kassell, Elaine Leong, Michelle Wallis and three anonymous peer reviewers for their comments on drafts of this article. Any remaining errors are entirely my own.